Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Round the World Airtourer ZK-CXU at MOTAT

Newly restored round the world Airtourer ZK-CXU is displayed in the new display hall at MOTAT in its original colours. This is an important historical aircraft for New Zealand and it is great to see it displayed for posterity.

ZK-CXU (c/n 521) was purchased new from its manufacturer, Aero Engine Services Ltd, by Cliff Tait in late 1968. It was first registered on 6/9/68 and ownership transferred to Cliff Tait on 20/11/68, which was also the date of its first flight. He named the aircraft Miss Jacy using his wife's and his initials.

Cliff Tait set out on his round the world flight on 12/5/69. It was an epic flight of 40 legs over 79 days, with a total flying time of 284 hours. The total distance flown was 30,500 nautical miles. Actually Cliff did not fly completely around the world as he could not obtain permission to overfly Russian airspace in North-Western Russia so he had to dismantle the aircraft and ship it from Tokyo to Vancouver. He returned to New Zealand on 1/8/69. Cliff sold ZK-CXU to Eagle Aviation of Hamilton on 27/11/69, so he only owned the aircraft for just over one year.

ZK-CXU then had a series of owners, mainly in the Waikato area until being purchased by MOTAT on 3/11/06. It is still registered to MOTAT. It was restored by Cliff Tait for the opening of the new MOTAT display hall in late 2011, in exactly the same colours and logos that it wore for its round the world flight.

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